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‘The right to decide and Catalonia’

FundiPau positioning

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We want a world in peace and with no violence. For this reason, since 1983 FundiPau (Fundació per la Pau – Foundation for Peace) has worked to get every time more people engaged with the culture of peace, and we promote those cultural and political changes that allow the eradication of violence (physical, structural, cultural) in the relationship between individuals and peoples.

Therefore, our work for peace is framed in a struggle for the requirement of justice, adherence to freedom, deepening democracy and the defence of human rights.

Global vision and the right to self-determination

Our starting point has always been the main unity: humanity above national, social or religious borders. Diversity should never be an excuse to prevent a global human vision. But neither a cosmopolitan option must mean the suppression of diversity. Diversity is wealth. And it is deeply human.

To build a more united, global and human world does not mean to assume and sacralise the current state borders, very often a result of war and atrocities.
We consider it a good thing that democratic participation be the means to define state borders if it is in the frame of civil and democratic processes and from a non-isolated perspective but one opened to the world.

Everybody has the right to an identity and to the sense of belonging. These rights are legitimate and must be respected. In such debates no one must feel threatened. This is not what is on stake, but a way of political organization that satisfies the majority of the citizens.

The right to the self-determination of peoples can be defended from a nationalistic point of view (one nation one State). But also from a radically democratic compromise: Besides the particular analysis of every case, when a community mostly claims to decide about its future, we can find neither any political nor conceptual way to deny it.

No government, no law, no court, no army should prevent it. By principle and democracy but also by common sense: if the will of self-determination of a people is solid, sooner or later it will be realized. Being so, the obligation of all these powers should be to work to make this right possible in the neatest and most orderly way, instead of hindering and boycotting it.

The process for the right to decide in Catalonia

We defend all these things in a general way and we also apply them, of course, in Catalonia, the country where FundiPau was born and from where we realize our global work for peace.

The Catalan population claims in a very clear way to exercise its right to decide. The citizen mobilizations (popular consultations, demonstrations, etc.) and the result of the 2012 elections to the Catalan Parliament made evident this majority support that according to different surveys will be between 70% and 80% of the population. As a result of all this, the majority of the political forces agreed, last year, to convene on a consultation to be held on 9th November 2014 to know the opinion of the citizens about the political future of Catalonia.

To pretend to ignore, despise or prevent this reality is not only undemocratic but it is also absurd: no one can deny something that is and exists.

We hope, wish and claim that the Spanish government listen to those voices of Spanish citizens, social organizations and politicians that claim that the government should allow the exercise of the right to decide in Catalonia. And in case that the Spanish government consider that this consultation has been hastily made or that it doesn’t accomplish the minimum requirements, it is very easy: It can suggest a negotiated proposal to improve the consultation, not forbid it.

Unities of any kind must be based in an adhesion pact, explicit or implicit. Imposed unities are submission. A relation based in submission is not good for any of the two parts. It is structural violence that tensions and harms everyone. On the contrary, the mutual recognition and respect dignifies the two parts. In that sense, the process we are involved in, must not be taken as “ones against the others” but as a magnificent opportunity for regeneration, both for Catalonia and for Spain and to establish a new relationship based in the respect of the dignity of every one, that enriches everybody.

The consultation as a part of a deliberative process of all the citizens

In FundiPau we believe that the right to decide is not only a vote at a given time in a consultation but another key element in a deliberative process where the Catalan population has to participate, debate, define and finally, decide. We must facilitate and allow all citizens to debate with total freedom and with circulation of information about the political future of this country.

Respect to diversity and to minorities

In Catalonia, until recently, the pro-independence proposals were minority and, as other transformative proposals, were marginalized from the official, institutional and media consensus. Now that it seems that the pro-independence movement is a majority option we would like to remember a lucid reflection by Lluís Maria Xirinacs, a historic pacifist and pro-independence: “Struggle against the strong when we are weak and against ourselves when we are strong”. The major manifestation of the desire for independence must not mean making invisible the arguments and ideological sensitivities of those citizens that think in a different way.

For a peaceful process

The mobilizations for the right to decide have showed an exemplary, civic, peaceful and non-violent attitude, as well as the demonstrations for the unity of Spain. We hope, wish and claim that all future mobilizations, as well as all institutional actions of the Governments involved, act in the same way.

In any case, FundiPau will work very actively to prevent any possible outbreak of violence, social or institutional, sporadic or induced. We call onto the citizens, the social movements and the Catalan political parties to reject any dynamics of violence, intimidation or intolerance. Catalonia has an enviable degree of rejection to social and political violence: this is a heritage we neither can nor want to lose.

Our solidarity and our collaboration intact

Catalonia has shown a remarkable option for solidarity and peace. FundiPau has not only greeted this compromise but has also participated as an active agent to promote it.
Our organization has always worked with a global vocation extending ties of relationship and partnership with people and organizations all over Europe, the Mediterranean, and the world and, specially, of course, with people and organizations in Spain. For us, this will continue to be so: we have never believed that borders have to limit human relationships and the construction of shared spaces to struggle for a better world. We will continue to think and do so, whatever the fitting between Catalonia and Spain may be.

Catalonia for peace

In recent years it has become apparent that Catalonia, despite not being a state, has supported a significant number of proposals, campaigns and global processes in favour of the culture of peace, the non-violent resolution of conflicts and disarmament. For FundiPau it is clear that Catalonia, whatever it happens, should continue maintaining its choice for solidarity and for peace. We will work on that direction.

It is obvious that if Catalonia chose to become a new and independent state, it would have more instruments to make a more effective and ambitious proposal for peace. And in case Catalonia became independent we would work very actively to encourage this new State to implement really new policies, much more positive and coherent with peace, and not a simple copy, with a Catalan view, of the ill-fated militaristic policies of the majority of States in the world.